Friday, January 17, 2014

United States v. Trenton Potteries Co. case brief

United States v. Trenton Potteries Co. case brief summary

FACTS
  • The defendants, manufacturers of bathroom fixtures, admitted to fixing prices through the trade association for 82% of the entire industry, but attempted to defend their agreement on grounds that the prices were reasonable. 
ANALYSIS
  •  Nonetheless, the Court excluded evidence that the price was reasonable, because price-fixing agreements are unreasonable even if the prices themselves were reasonable. Courts forced to determine that reasonable prices would have to act like “utility commissions,” which is beyond their institutional competency.
  • The Court endorsed a per se rule against price-fixing.
  • But see Appalachian Coals, Inc. v. U.S. (1933), where the Court ruled a joint-selling agreement among Appalachian coal producers reasonable, despite the necessary price-fixing features, partly due to lack of controlling market share and influenced by terrible circumstances in the industry.

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